The perfect groom? Check. Dress, cake, and band? Check, check, and check. While you may have the big parts covered, a few often-overlooked details will truly make your day memorable. We take you from the ceremony programs to the exit with a list of particulars longing for attention.
1. Directions & Signage
Why: You don’t want your guests getting lost on the way to the chapel. If you spell it out for them, they’re more likely to be on time, and your entire wedding day has a better chance of running smoothly.
How to do it: First, include a map or add a link to Google Maps on your wedding website so that guests have an idea of where they’re going. As a safeguard, consider including a map from the ceremony site to the reception venue in your programs or your invites. For the day-of, create signage for each wedding spot, (the ceremony, cocktail hour, and reception), directing guests where to go. If it’s an outdoor wedding, make or buy a wooden sign and paint it with an arrow. For a more sophisticated soiree, consider using printed black-and-white-framed signage in a scripted font.
2. The Entrance
Why: No matter where you wed, first impressions are essential. A personalized entryway will make your site more welcoming and help guests feel at home almost immediately.
How to do it: If you’re having an outdoor wedding, hang leis of orchids or sun-catching glass ornaments on the surrounding trees. For a ballroom, have your florist create an escort card table arrangement with plenty of height so it’s the first thing guests see. A rustic affair calls for tons of lanterns lining the pathways.
3. The Escort Cards
Why: When the seating is assigned ahead of time, you save guests the pressure of searching for a seat at the wedding reception. You also guarantee that your guests of honour, (grandparents and close relatives), get a quiet spot while your rowdy friends from college sit closest to the dance floor.
How to do it: Escort cards are extremely easy to personalize and an excellent way to bring in your wedding day colours — from calligraphed seating cards set atop a textured linen to apples tagged with each guest’s name or small personalized bundles of lavender tied off with string. Other ways to display escort cards: Pin them to a clothesline, post them on a board covered in color-coordinated ribbon, or incorporate them into your cocktail hour using personalized stirrers tagged with guests’ names.
4. The Guest Book
Why: It takes more than setting out a couple of pens to make a guest book enticing enough to get all your guests to sign in. The trick is to show off your creativity in an inviting way.
How to do it: Make a backdrop by hanging an attractive piece of fabric and then ask each guest, couple, or family to stand in front of it and pose. Have a close friend man the camera. When their picture is ready, they can pop it into the guest book and sign their names next to it. Or get your videographer involved and go for a live guest book reel by having each of your guests express all of their sentiments on camera.
5. The Lighting
Why: The right lighting can help flatter any space and make you and your guests look great.
How to do it: Use coloured lighting to punch up a drab hallway. Pick a different yet complementary hue for the rest of the reception, (use blue for a white wedding, amber for a pink celebration). Decorative hanging lights, lamps with patterned shades, or crystal chandeliers will transform a space from plain to extravagant.
6. A Game Plan For the Kids
Why: Even if you love children, you won’t want them disrupting the ceremony or reception. Have a plan to keep little ones at their best.
How to do it: At the ceremony, have an usher hand out colouring books and crayons. At mealtime, seat little ones with their parents so they’ll be in top form while eating. If lots of kids will be attending, setting up a nearby room with games, craft supplies, and DVDs guarantees that they’ll have a good time during the reception, (as will their eternally grateful parents).
…and here’s to a fabulous wedding day!